Students receive awards at the International Environmental Youth Symposium

Published By: ChaNaè Bradley November 21, 2016

Front row from left to right- Tanganique Baker, Kiara Lipsey, Akanksha Kanwar, Hema Degala, Gayitri Chivukula, Back row -Daniel Ekefre, Badri Khanal, Dr. Hari Singh and Dr. Ajit Mahapatra Graduate students and faculty members attend the International Environmental Youth Symposium in Atlanta.

Fort Valley State University biotechnology graduate students recently presented at an international symposium where they earned two awards.

The second annual International Environmental Youth Symposium held at the Samuel Nunn Federal Center in Atlanta drew hundreds of government officials along with students and faculty from universities across the world.

FVSU students Tanganique Baker, Lakshmi Chivikula, Hema Degala, Daniel Ekefre, Akanksha Kanwar, Badri Khanal and Kiara Lipsey attended the event sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. Lakshmi Chivikula and Badri Khanal, second-year biotechnology graduate students, received awards.

Chivikula earned second place in the sustainable agriculture and food security category for her research project called, "Sustainable Bio-Nano Composites from Renewable Bioenergy Crops: Green Materials for Tissue Engineering."

Khanal earned third place in the sustainable and renewable energy category for his research project called, "Assessment of Production Efficiency and Environment Impacts of Napier Grass for Renewable and Sustainable Bioenergy."

Chivikula said interacting with other scientists and students from across the globe was exciting. "You get so many ideas, its really helpful," Chivikula said.

Drs., Hari Singh and Ajit Mahapatra, FVSU professors of plant science and food and bioprocess engineering, accompanied the students. Singh and Mahapatra served as advisors and mentors to the students.

Singh said his students go through rigorous sessions of preparation, which teaches them to be prepared, confident, independent and well informed in their area of research.

He said the focus areas of his students' research such as climate change and sustainable agriculture are important for future generations and could have lasting impacts.

"Currently, we are witnessing increased pollution, rising global temperature, melting ice caps and ever depleting natural resources which are serious threats to the survival of the human race. Shifting focus on climate change is of utmost importance due to the severity of its long-term impact on all life forms," Singh said.

For more information about graduate programs offered by the College of Agriculture at FVSU, visit